Slobot About Town LXXXV:

Slobot goes to Washington, DC; pt. 01!

Slobot was wandering the country roads of West Virginia when he decided to hitch...

and ride his way to the the District, the D-to-the-C, the (former) murder capital of the United States...

Washington, DC!

But Washington, DC was not the first capital of the United States; that honor goes to New York City, where Congress met at Federal Hall from 1789 - 1790.

The old Federal Hall would be razed in 1812. In its place would, in 1842, rise the first Customs House of the U.S.

On the steps of the Customs House there stands a statue in bronze created in 1882 by John Quincy Adams Ward. The statue stands at the site where - on April 30, 1789 - George Washington would be inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.

Federal Hall had never been intended as a permanent capital.

It was while meeting at Federal Hall that Congress passed the Residence Act, which created the District of Columbia.

The Residence Act also moved the capital to Philadelphia, where Congress would convene - at Congress Hall - from 1790 to 1800.

But then, in 1800, Capitol Hill would open for bu$iness.

Construction of the Capitol began in 1793 and would continue in phases for the next two centuries.

From the west face of the Capitol Slobot could see the Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument stands some 1.2 miles west of the Capitol.

Slobot somehow fumbled and found himself on the far side of the Tidal Basin from the Monument.

By the time Slobot reached the Monument it was nearing dark.

At night the Monument was gorgeous. Slobot could not believe that such a beautiful monument had had such a troubled beginning. Construction on the Monument would begin in 1848 but it would not be dedicated until Washington's 153rd birthday - February 22, 1885.

At that time the Monument's 555+ feet made it the tallest structure in the world. The Monument remains the tallest building in DC.

About three-quarters of a mile west of the Washington Monument Slobot found the Lincoln Memorial.

South Carolina and the year of its admission to United States of America are etched on the east face of the Lincoln Memorial.

Inside sat a stoic statute of the sixteenth President of the United States of America,

Abraham Lincoln.

Slobot looked at the back of a five-dollar bill and pretended that it was he, not Lincoln, that peered from between columns.

The massive statue of Lincoln was carved from 28 marble blocks. Designer Daniel Chester French based much of his statue on an 1860 life mask of Lincoln made by Leonard Volk. The face of the Lincoln statue is of a younger, more robust Lincoln.

But this life mask, made on February 11, 1865 by Clark Mills, reveals a gaunt Lincoln, a Lincoln ravaged by four years of civil war.

Lincoln's last top hat, banded with black silk in remembrance of his son William Wallace "Willie" Lincoln, is on display at the National Museum of American History. Lincoln wore the hat to his fateful viewing of Our American Cousin...

at Ford's Theatre.

It is said that Laura Keene, an actress in Our American Cousin, was wearing this cuff, now blood-stained, when she cradled the wounded president's head.

Assassin John Wilkes Booth would be killed by a Union Army soldier, but eight alleged conspirators were taken into custody. The seven men of the conspiracy were made to wear canvas hoods. Ultimately half of the eight conspirators would be hanged for the murder of Abraham Lincoln.

Stay tuned for the next Washington, DC-explorin' episode of Slobot About Town!